L.I.S.A.: What has your experience at Makerere University been like? Have there been any differences to Kyambogo University in Uganda and possibly other institutions you have previously attended?
Charles Kinyera Okeny: My experience at Makerere University has so far been quite fascinating. First, together with all other graduate students’ communities, we were oriented into our programmes by the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT) on arrival, a thing that made me feel the warmness of Makerere University from the start. The DRGT continuously brings in certificate training in core cross-cutting courses such as Philosophy of Methods, Advanced Research Methods, Information Management and Competence and Research Writings. I am grateful to be one of the beneficiaries of these trainings and hope to continue being so. At the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), where my PhD is based, my group (the 10 Gerda Henkel 2017 Cohort) was well received. We underwent trainings in 4 different introductory cross-cutting core courses ushered in by a team of experts from CHUSS. This actually gave me a deep insight into the PhD programme.
From here, individual proposal writing started under the guidance of supervisors. Interestingly, I have received wonderful supervisors. They always have spare time for me despite all their different appointments. Much more importantly, though, is the timely, efficient communication mechanism and above all the professional academic relationships that exists amongst us. Through different forums at Makerere University, I have also been able to create a series of professional networks right from the department, school, college up to the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR). Amidst all the above, I am well aware that Makerere University is dominantly run by human beings and where there are human beings two sides of a coin are always available, i.e. opportunities and challenges. The major challenge so far has been the slow administrative clearance of our proposals before proceeding to the field.
In a nutshell, I wouldn’t say there are many differences to Kyambogo University and the University of Dar es Salaam, where I studied my Bachelor and Masters respectively, but it is worth noting that the seeds for my academic success was planted at Kyambogo University, weeded at the University of Dar es Salaam and will be harvested at Makerere University.